FROM THE HOME TASTING TABLE: Deiss Grasberg Alsace 1er Cru 2004
Very bright, liquid pale gold in the glass… Incredibly complex in the nose, with personal associations like honey, lemon, grapefruit, candied orange peel, calcareous dust, summer hay with loads of floral scents like chamomile, blossoms, white and yellow fruit, almonds, nuts, mint… it just goes on and on in the glass, multi-layered and never-ending fascinating. The attack on the tongue is tense, clean and juicy. On the palate, very elegant, highly refined, extremely sensual with a fantastic balance between the earthy minerality and freshness on one hand and the celestial lush and rich fruity sweetness (34-44 grams residual sugar per liter?)… This is so beautiful, so intense, and so elegant and highly drinkable! The finish is surprisingly long, clean and highly mineral, typical for all great wines from calcareous soils with fossils, like muschelkalk in Germany or in Chablis.This is such a fully comprehensive and warm plead for real terroir where the vines have to go very deep to get the necessary micro-elements and minerals. In this specific wine, the terroir rules, the grape mix of riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer is just part of a bigger whole. This is a wine like Jean-Michel Deiss has always been dreaming of, a perfect expression of the terroir and harvest year. Very good wine with real character and great complexity ****(*)
Matching: For this masterpiece, I kept it simple… a first course of monk-fish (lotte) cheeks, à la minute baked scallops and shrimps served with a butter-wine-citrus-cream sauce (orange, lime, grapefruit) and a small nest of semi-fresh tagliatelle pasta.
The Grasberg terroir (located near Bergheim, a small city close to Ribeauvillé) combines a core of pure, highly split rough Oolithic limestone, very rich in fossils, and a thin, loose calcareous top-layer. The Grasberg is a stereotype of high-quality complantation vineyard of riesling, pinot gris and gewürztraminer with a plant density of 10.000 to 12.000 vine stocks per hectare! The Grasberg 1er Cru is situated at the top of the hill of Grand Cru Altenberg.
You will not hear him saying it so often but Jean Michel Deiss works organic/biodynamic without making any fuss of it. He prefers to refer to the work of the old Benedictine monks than to Steiner and Goethe… He is not really fancying the idea of being a guru; he is a real vine and wine grower, a hard worker with a vision, a mission and a passion.
(No*: wimpy wine, * nice wine, recommended, ** good wine with character, *** good wine with character and complexity, **** very good wine, ***** outstanding wine)